By Daniel Paiz
A Week’s Worth Album Review returns, this time going back more than a few weeks for Coast Contra’s Apt. 505. This quartet of artists released Apt. 505 back in March of 2022, but only over the past month or so have I stumbled upon it. There’s a nice range of topics and sounds smattered throughout. Add in that sweet spot of plenty of tracks under an hour of total listening time, and listeners reap the benefits.
Highlights in Apt. 505
The Los Angeles group of energetic emcees brings a sound that cuts through a lot of what’s popular right now. It might just be their delivery, but it might also be the sounds underneath that fluidly carry the words so well. As the words and sounds converge as one, the messaging is very methodical, and there’s something striking about the direction of the project.
There’s plenty of braggadocio happening in the first five tracks or so, but it’s not the kind only focusing on what these four have. Instead, there’s that important distinction of, these guys tell us they have work to do and want to work; then, they do said work starting on “Pimpin’ Benjamin”, which is track six. The best example of this I hear would be verse two from Taj:
Ayy, I learned the etiquette, pimpin’, duckin’ the delicate mistakes
Had to double up my dollar like Jefferson off the face
Problem is, do you play to win or do you play it safe?
Depends, do you question what it costs or what it make?
You ain’t broke ’til you think with limits, you rich, you unbound
Not to mention, but chasin’ a pension is out of style
Had a interest for gettin’ digits, bitches gave me the run around
Now the interest on the digits compound, exquisite, huhCoast Contra-Pimpin’ Benjamin
Perception is very important when approaching goals and life in general. Taj questions the listener as to their approach on numerous ideas; in this instance it’s success of the financial variety. There’s a portion here or there that arguably adds depth but also distracts related to the “interest for gettin’ digits” part, but that’s open to your interpretation.
Tracks seven through nine balance braggadocio and proof of writing work, and then “Queen & Slim” gives us another moment of what the future might look like for these four. The film of the same name shares storytelling that would be intriguing to see across this entire album:
This song for me shows Coast Contra’s ability to expand in the future. With more time will come more complexities, and this group likely can sustain that on a future tape. A debut album with this range is a great jumping off point, especially as each track after “Queen & Slim” feels like a buildup to their explosive closing song.
Coast Contra is one of those groups that has a range in which they can choose any direction and likely have success in. The work that has to be done now is simple, albeit difficult for some: honing one’s craft. That doesn’t seem to be a problem so far, and ideally success won’t be a detractor. Another reason I’d recommend this project is because it feels very appropriate both for the summer, and for 2022. Something just feels right about bumping this project right now.
Lastly, tracks like the closing song “Pangea” are a big reason why listeners are tuning in right now. There’s plenty of future potential, but the current energy and sound is what drew this listener in. I’ll leave you with “Pangea” to jam out the rhymes of Taj Austin and Raj Austin, Rio Loz and Eric Jamal: